Originally Published on CORRIERE ROMAGNA - July 29, 2022
Meet Daniele Bartocci, a 35-year-old entrepreneur who has blended his passion for cooking and nature to establish Emilia-Romagna's largest snail farm. After traveling and cooking around the world, he founded "Demetra," a unique brand that specializes in snail-based cosmetics and gourmet foods.
Why Snail Farming?
Bartocci explains that his lifelong experience as a chef and love for nature led him to snail farming. He has adopted the "Madonita" technique, an organic, cruelty-free method that provides a natural habitat for snails throughout their life cycle.
Sustainability and Animal Welfare
The farm prioritizes no-stress, cruelty-free methods that include feeding the snails organic vegetables and protecting them from heat with wooden pallets and a special irrigation system.
Quality Over Quantity
Demetra focuses on the Helix Aspersa Muller species known for its superior quality slime, used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The farm produces less but at a higher quality.
Life Cycle and Market
The average life cycle of a snail on this farm is about 14 months. The snails are then released back into the wild, completing their life cycle, and their meat is sold as a high-protein, low-impact food.
Future of Snail Farming
With the decline in snail populations, Demetra aims to provide a sustainable and ethical alternative. Snail meat is gaining popularity as a niche food item, especially in high-end restaurants.
The farm is committed to low environmental impact, powered entirely by solar panels and producing no waste. Their snail products are sold online with high-quality, "Made in Italy" packaging.
Keeping Predators at Bay
Instead of using pesticides, the farm uses low-frequency boxes that emit classical music 24/7 to deter predators.